SAN DIEGO, November 21, 2017–Multiple Sclerosis affects approximately 400,000 Americans. 200 individuals are diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS) every week in the U.S., and 2.5 million individuals worldwide are afflicted with this incurable neurological disease.
It is estimated that three times more women are stricken with MS than men, a discrepancy that is believed to likely be due to estrogen.
Shining the light on this debilitating disease is the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, which has chapters all over the United States. One such chapter is the outstanding Pacific Coast Chapter located in San Diego, California.
Pacific Coast Chapter President, Richard Israel, along with his devoted team of staff and volunteers, work tirelessly throughout the year to raise awareness and funds by hosting community walks, runs, bike rides and other events which, according to the National MS Society
“[Helps] people affected by MS by funding cutting-edge research, driving change through advocacy, facilitating professional education, and providing programs and services that help people with MS and their families move their lives forward.”
One such event was the chapter’s 31st annual MS dinner auction, held Saturday, November 18 at the beautiful Loews Coronado Bay Resort. The event raised thousands of dollars to benefit those suffering with MS, while ensuring all who attended enjoyed a wonderful program.
It was not uncommon during the event to have an opportunity to meet and socialize with a number of individuals afflicted with MS. Affected by multiple sclerosis at varying levels, many of these MS patients walked with or without assistive devices, while others moved about in wheelchairs. But all were willing to share their incredible MS journey, and arrived all dressed up and ready to enjoy this significant fund raiser.
Notably, there are many MS heroines among us. One who brings light and hope to others stricken with this disease is the beautiful and vivacious Ann-Marie Murrell.
Currently a resident of Burbank, California, this wife, mother and author, who is also the founder, owner and Editor-in-Chief of PolitiChicks, has this to say about what it means to her to be stricken with MS:
“Almost every time I tell someone I have MS their initial reaction is shock. Other than using a cane (which I only use when I’m wearing heels) I appear to be completely healthy and normal. I’ve written two books…run a very successful website….I travel all over the country doing speaking engagements.”
About Multiple Sclerosis
MS is a disease of the spinal cord and brain which commonly occurs in individuals between the ages of 15 and 60. While its precise cause remains unknown, some of the known risk factors for the disease include a variety of viral infections, race, genetics, low Vitamin D levels, climate and smoking.
As MS progresses, the individual’s immune system attacks the myelin sheath, the tissue that covers the nerves.
The gradual deterioration of this protective sheath adversely affects neurological communication throughout the body. The nerves becomes progressively impaired, leading to permanent nerve damage.
As the nervous system deteriorates, the ability of that vital system to properly communicate with body and organ systems is increasingly impaired, severely affecting the ability to think, speak and move.
According to the Mayo Clinic, symptoms that indicate the onset of multiple sclerosis may include experiencing numbness in various parts of the body; a tingling or pain in parts of the body; electric-shock sensation upon movement; prolonged periods of double vision; tremor, unsteady gait; slurred speech, fatigue or dizziness; and changes in bowel and bladder functions. Individuals who experience such symptoms are advised to seek the immediate attention ofa medical professional if any of these symptoms persist.
Medical tests such as particular blood studies, nerve function studies, spinal taps and more are used to properly determine a viable MS diagnosis.
Those diagnosed with MS who wish to maintain a normal life generally face a long road ahead. Since there is currently no cure for the disease, medications and other medical therapies may be indicated. Maintaining physical activities specific to those with MS is critical. Adhering to a diet rich in antioxidants and healthy fatty acids may be advised.
Looking ahead, there is also the promise of new treatments, improved therapies and ground-breaking research which includes the investigation of stem cells.
The National Multiple Sclerosis Society
Located in most communities across America, the National Multiple Sclerosis Society can be especially helpful in providing assistance to individuals diagnosed with MS and their families. Such assistance may include services, support, education (including tools for living the most optimal life) and more to help all who are affected by this terrible disease.
To learn more about the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, link to the National MS Society website.
Though it involves hard work, dedication and sometimes struggle, managing the effects of MS is entirely possible for many of those who are diagnosed. MS heroines such as Ann-Marie Murrell teach us how to overcome adversity, while insisting upon living a vibrant life. According to Murrell,
“…there’s another me who exists in between all that hoopla(of leading a dynamic life)…someone I rarely allow anyone other than family and close friends to see. There are weeks…sometimesmonths…when I’m home recovering …strategically placing heating pads all over my body…Luckily I’ve learned a lot about diet and MS managementfrom my 32-year old son, Jason, who was diagnosed with MS a year before I was…I definitely have very painful days and nights…sometimes depression seeps in…because there is always a distant threat of ending up in a wheelchair and becoming a burden to my family…I also have a very strong faith in Christ and immense gratitude for all my blessings…MS is mostly just another bump in the road of a gloriously beautiful life.”
Until next time enjoy the ride in good health!